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Central Europe

© 1999-2001 Imminent Storm of NEWST.

Chapter Twelve: The Calm Before The Storm

"Enemy incoming at 1.23 kilometers, ground units only" came the message from Bird of Prey. The other 3 Ultra-Borgs--Tiamat, Fenrir, and Necron--were crouched behind a 10-meter high escarpment that ran the length of the eastern rim of the LZ. Between them and the enemy base was very little forestation, likely the result of deliberate clearing. Behind them to the west was a dense coniferous forest. In the distance, they could see some of the structures of the enemy base, which was 2 miles away. Still being late February, there were about 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground.

"900 meters." Brid of Prey continued his reports. "I've got incomming VTOLs." He waited until the enemy air units were at optimal range, then fired off several rounds from his Stinger missile launcher. All but three of them were destroyed. A shot from each of his Gauss Arms took out 2 more. The last surviving enemy VTOL fired AT missiles before being destroyed; those missiles slammed squarely into Bird of Prey's torso but inflicted minor damage.

"Enemy now at 500 meters."

Necron then issued the order: "Attack!!!" In the next few seconds, the air was filled with fire as a hail of weapons fire from both sides were fired. The once peaceful-looking surroundings now became a battlefield. Initially, the most damage done was by Tiamat. His heavy weaponry caused severe damage at long range, but as the enemy came within 250 meters, he had to switch to his chain gun. The enemy, now dispersed and disorganized, failed to do anything but kick up tons of dirt. However, they were getting closer and closer to the LZ and jeopordized the landing of the transports, now only 3 minutes away.

The Ultra-Borgs now moved out from their positions and began taking out the scattered enemies in direct ground engagements. Fenrir moved swiftly to pick off a few of the enemies' mobile artillery units that were in range of the LZ, with an almost "one shot, one kill" ratio from his gauss rifle. Tiamat stayed back at the LZ, switching his Big Bertha cannon over to indirect mode and using it like a field artillery piece. Necron ran through a cloud of smoke and dust, but suddenly, his left foot hung up on something and caused him to come crashing to the ground, front first. Quickly getting back up, he turned back and saw that he had stepped right on an enemy super-cyborg, crushing it.

The enemy was now in full retreat, just in time for the friendly transports to land. What unloaded was a full army group, including heavy tanks, cyborgs, mobile artillery, VTOLs, and construction crews. Phase 3 could now begin. They had paid a price though; Bird of Prey's armor plating that protected his right gauss arm had been breached twice by enemy gauss fire and effectively put that arm out of commision (at least until the auto repair system could finish work). Fenrir, with his light armor, had suffered several small penetrations of his leg and arm armor leaving him more vunderable than before. Necron was covered with nicks, scratches, dents, burn marks, and one semi-melted portion of his armor. Tiamat made it through the fight with only a few dents and scratches. Added to that was a withering supply of ammunition. But the effectivess of the Ultra-Borgs was self-evident from the burning and charred remains of enemy units littering the ground.

LZ defenses went up quickly as the Ultra-Borgs auto-repaired what they could and prepared for the next offensive. This time, they would act independently from each other and provide fire support for the advancing conventional army. The plan was a multi-pronged attack to be made by all units simultaneously. Thirty minutes after the transports landed, preparations were finally complete. They no longer had the advantage of surprise, so the fighting would be tough from here on out for sure.

Tiamat's group had to clear an enemy heavy cannon fortress that was blocking their attack path; but one shot from the Big Bertha cannon severly damaged the structure, and a second shot blew it to pieces. All the attacking groups made but slow headway against large numbers of enemy units and heavily fortified defences. It took almost all of Necron's remaining ammunition stores to level an enemy "super fortress." The Super Fortress was a structure encountered during some of the Project's attempts to create a second breach in the front. It had a normal fortress weapon at the center, but also up to 8 smaller support guns built right onto it. All in all, it took another full hour to penetrate to the inner ring of defences of the enemy base. By now, almost half the original assault units were gone; the VTOLs almost all destroyed, and Bird of Prey and Fenrir were completely out of ammunition. In fact, Bird of Prey had to fall back to the LZ due to to lack of ammunition and heavy damage. Another hour passed, then finally the enemy guns fell silent.

They had managed to preserve, intact, the Command Center, research facillities, and a few other structures that looked like command relay stations. A final transport now arrived and landed right in the middle of the enemy base. It carried the research team that was to infiltrate the enemy's systems. In the two-hour interval that followed, little or nothing happened; a few lone enemy units that had not yet been destroyed showed up, but were easily dealt with. Then something totally unexpected happened. Back at Delta HQ, the comm officer stood up, "Uhhh, Commander, Sir. I think we're getting a message...from the enemy."